Friday, June 08, 2012

Primum non nocere - First, Do No Harm

Primum non nocere,  is a phrase we connect to the Hippocratic Oath, a pledge for Doctors to abstain from doing harm.  What if, we all lived by this phrase ?  What would our lives look like ?  More importantly, what would the lives of our spouses look like ?  Our children's lives ?  Our neighbors, our fellow workers, etc ?    
Sometimes, without much thought, we say and do things to harm the very ones we love the most.  And often our own "self talk" harms us.  
In the past two months, I have had much time to think deeply about what really matters in life.  When Mei-Ling was handing on to life by a very thin thread, I never once thought about my pretty dishes, my new drapes, what was hanging in my closet, what kind of car I drove or wished I drove.  I never once thought about how my hair looked, or if my shoes matched my purse.   I thought only about the frailty of life and how each and every word and deed has an impact on those we come in contact with.  I thought about life's purpose, about why we are here on earth.  I thought about the power of our thoughts and actions, each and every one.  In retrospect, I measured out with care, the things in life that really matter.   This morning I woke thinking about having peace in my heart that was firm and unshakable, and how that must feel.  I thought about my daughter Melissa, who is having a birthday today, and how every word and action I have taken since the day she was born has had an impact on her life.   Did I weigh every one of them against the adage that I should "first, do no harm" ?  Probably not.  I am sure there are times I was not as kind as I should have been, or as considerate as I could have been.  There have been times when I reacted before thinking about my words.  We live in a world that bombards us through social media, and plain old media, about what we should like, want, have, say, do etc, but very few of them come with any consideration as to if our wanting this or that might harm another.  Do those new kitchen gadgets come with a cost ?  Do those shoes really make us happy long term and fill us with inner peace ?  Do they take away from our meeting the needs of some child going without lunch, or perhaps take only thoughts in our heads about who we really are and what we need to be at peace ?   I am examining my life right now, seeking to find the correct path, the one that includes doing good, doing no harm, honoring God and filling my life with gratitude for all that He has so graciously given me.  To live each day filled not with want and desire for more things, but to live each day filled with the desire to fill the empty spaces with peace and unconditional love.

1 comment:

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I agree with this! We should always keep the principle of "first, do no harm" in mind. It can become complex to consider all the ways our actions have an impact all that is, but I think you are right that it should never be forgotten.

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